Adjusting To Your Spouse

happy elderly woman hugging husband from behind

Ever notice when you are on vacation with your spouse that you can get along for about two days and then the bickering starts? Dearest and I can get through a weekend. We practice adjusting to each other every week. Even then, we get on each other’s nerves from time to time.Learn what you both need.

It usually starts when one of us has a plan for weekend time but doesn’t plan ahead with the other. I like to have time for my hobbies and want to get the laundry done for the week. He’s retired so he gets his chores done while I’m at work.

Dearest likes to go shopping and he likes for me to come along. I’m a trip planning list shopper. He loves to cruise the aisles and see it all on the spur of the moment. What we learned to do is to shop with a list and some looking around, and have dinner  or a snack out as well. We go when I get to a good stopping place on my stuff.

It started many years ago when we were both working but on different shifts. Weekends were basically the only time we saw each other. He’d want to go to the mall around 4 PM on a Saturday so we’d go. I enjoyed shopping without a list then and we’d look at everything. However, I’d start getting hungry and short tempered. One Saturday I was especially snappish. It got so bad that he towed me to the deli to get me fed. That worked so well it’s now routine.

When we both ended up on a day schedule we had to get used to being together on weeknights too. That was easier because there was structure. We had supper, then dishes, then TV or reading and off to bed.

Vacations are the hardest. Not only do I have to be more careful of getting snappish with Dearest out of hunger, but we have to have some sort of plan. Dearest likes to wing it much more than I do. It still takes sitting down together and blocking out times for going fishing and exploring so we still have time for visiting.

We still need to adjust some more.

With all that, I have some concerns about our adjusting to being together at home most of the time when I retire.

Dearest has been doing half the housework and all the yard work for many years now. It’s really been wonderful of him to step up and I see some rebalancing of the load ahead. He will have more free time. So will I. He has also worked out how he does things and will likely share this knowledge with me to help out. Only I tend to take that as a criticism.

Then there is the territorial part. I will be there more, where Dearest is used to having the place to himself all day. He has his ways and I have mine. We have only started to talk about getting rid of some stuff as a long-term project. He has at least as much stuff as I do.

With the house, we’ve always had some difference in priorities. I am an inside person so I want the floors finished someday. He favors systems. So far we have had to go with revamping those to survive.  So we did the leaky roof, put in central heat, insulated the last third, wired and put up drywall there.  Then he rebuilt the deck. I painted inside and we did the kitchen over.   Victory!

There’s still a potential deck on the south side to do, siding issues, and a few things that may need work to ensure we are safe later on.  All this takes communicating and coordinating and motivating. And maybe extra shopping trips, too.

Why we’ll adjust.

Since we’ve lived together we’ve gotten through the vacation from hell, when the car broke down and then got burglarized a thousand miles from home.  We’ve experienced family deaths, the natural death of our hydroelectric business, the loss of beloved pets.

Dearest nursed me through appendicitis, depression, and cancer.  He was every bit as caringly overbearing as I was when he had his heart attack and cataract surgeries.  We drove each other all over the countryside to get the best care.  We hovered over each other and enforced doctor’s limitations on how much to lift.  To my dismay, this extended to Dearest coming to the grocery store to make sure I didn’t lift with the wrong hand.

So looking back at our lifetime together so far, I think I can tell what to expect.  Dearest has his moods, his endless curiosity, his focus on things working.  He cares about me deeply enough to still be here.

I’m still moody, more into routines and lists to help me have my creative time, and interested in a wide variety of things.  I love my husband with all my heart, and value how we have worked at being together so far.

We know each other pretty well.  We talk sporadically about what concerns us, and plans eventually emerge.  We’re also good at improvising when life throws us a curve.  We’ve gone through a variety of challenges and come out stronger for the experiences.   We have begun to talk about the coming changes because he is thinking about how long to keep his truck, and I am wondering about having a second car at all when I retire.

That’s typically how it starts.  I believe it’ll have good results.

What challenges do you see coming when your spouse is around more?

 

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